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Government sets out plans to wipe out rural ‘not spots’

Paul Lipscombe
April 20, 2021

The new proposals also look to speed up the rollout of 5G across rural communities

The UK government has today outlined plans to drastically improve mobile connectivity in rural areas across the country.

In the process, the government hopes the new plans will eliminate mobile signal blindspots, while also speeding up the rollout of 5G.

In a statement today, the government revealed a number of proposals for mobile companies to utilise in order to benefit rural communities.

This includes the major network operators being able to make new and existing masts up to five meters taller and two meters wider than current proposals.

These changes will help aide the £1bn Shared Rural Network investment that the government has put into developing 4G in rural areas. This investment again seeks to eliminate 4G mobile ‘not spots’ in the countryside.

Commenting on the updated proposals Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We want to level up the country and end the plague of patchy and poor mobile signals in rural communities.

“Today we are setting out plans to make it easier for mobile firms to transform connectivity in the countryside and propel villages and towns out of the digital dark ages – providing a welcome boost for millions of families, businesses and visitors.”

Stricter rules are set to apply in protected areas such as national parks, while plans also include proposals to improve mobile coverage on the UK’s roads.


The plans have been welcomed by Mobile UK, the voice of the UK’s four MNOs.

Mobile UK director Hamish MacLeod said: “We welcome the proposals set out in this consultation which will provide better certainty and flexibility to technological changes required to build world-class mobile networks.

“We urge the Government that to assist mobile companies to meet its ambitions targets for deployment, it brings about legislative change as quickly as possible.”

The proposals have also been welcomed by Ericsson.

“We welcome today’s proposals from the Government to close rural ‘not spots’. These are practical, targeted measures that could spur much quicker roll out of mobile coverage in these historically under-served areas,” said Ericsson UK and Ireland CTO for network and managed services Bjorn Odenhammar.

“Importantly, it will allow for more equal deployment of 5G around the UK, allowing communities and businesses in rural areas and cities alike to benefit from the significant economic boost 5G promises as we build back from the pandemic.

“If the UK is to lead in 5G and bridge its digital divide, it is important that the Government and industry move deliberately but quickly through this process.”

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